Cape Point - Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve
Rugged rocks and sheer cliffs towering more than 200 metres above the sea and cutting deep into the ocean provide a spectacular background for the Parks’ rich bio-diversity. Cape Point falls within the southern section of Table Mountain National Park. The natural vegetation of the area, fynbos, comprises the smallest but richest of the world’s six floral kingdoms. The scenic beauty of Cape Point is not its sole allure; it is also an international icon of great historical interest with many a visitor drawn to the area because of its rich maritime history.
Named the ‘Cape of Storms’ by Bartolomeu Dias in 1488; the ‘Point’ was treated with respect by sailors for centuries. By day, it was a navigational landmark and by night, and in fog, it was a menace beset by violent storms and dangerous rocks that over the centuries littered shipwrecks around the coastline.
In 1859 the first lighthouse was completed; it still stands at 249 metres above sea-level on the highest section of the peak and is now used as the centralised monitoring point for all the lighthouses on the coast of South Africa. Access to this historical building is by an exhilarating 3 minute ride in the wheelchair accessible Flying Dutchman funicular that transfers visitors from the lower station at 127 metres above sea level, to the upper station at 286 metres above sea level.
Table Mountain National Park forms part of the Cape Floral Region, a World Heritage Site. It includes the majestic Table Mountain chain, which stretches from Signal Hill to Cape Point, and the coastlines of the Cape Peninsula. This narrow stretch of land, dotted with beautiful valleys, bays and beaches, contains a mix of extraordinarily diverse and unique fauna and flora.
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